The McAllen City Commission approved a $288.4 million total budget Monday evening, reflecting the steady increase in property valuations throughout the McAllen area. For McAllen officials, sales tax revenues will again help to sustain the budget.
“This is a well thought out, solid budget,” said City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez, P.E.
City Commissioners voted on a final budget plan for the new fiscal year after cutting down spending across the board and renegotiating raises with the police department through collective bargaining. Mayor Jim Darling is enthusiastic about the budget and the city’s economy, and said residents will continue to enjoy the highest level of city services.
“Our City leaders have always been mindful of the balance between providing quality services and quality of life and the burden on the taxpayer. We are proud of our low tax rate and great services. This budget is an example of our continued commitment to both,” Darling said.
Rodriguez recommended an approximately $112 million general fund budget for McAllen’s next fiscal year, including a 3 percent across-the-board raise for city workers. The City Commission considered the raises over several budget hearings in the last month. The pay increase will start with McAllen’s next fiscal year on Oct. 1.
“We have had another open and transparent discussion regarding the 2015-2016 budget. I would like to thank the City Commission for their commitment to the process. The budget document continues to show a priority to customer service, safety and quality of life for the citizens of McAllen,” Rodriguez said.
He attributed the sound budget to healthy sales tax allocations and slightly higher toll revenue from the Anzalduas and McAllen-Hidalgo-Reynosa international bridges. Both the Commission and the McAllen Public Utility Board will adopt the 3 percent across-the-board raise. Together, they employ almost 1,800 people. Should the projected $112 million in city revenue hold, McAllen will be nearly $267,000 in the black at the end of the fiscal year.
“We continue to focus on improving everything that we do. We have a duty to provide the best possible services and facilities and the best possible price,” Rodriguez said.
Most city revenue comes from two sources: Sales tax, which makes up 44 percent, and property tax, which accounts for 31 percent. About half of the city’s general fund budget would go toward funding public safety, such as the fire and police departments.